Reinventing America's Favorite Foods
Caulipower’s mission statement is ambitious: “To reinvent America’s favorite foods one healthy meal hack at a time.” Imagine taking shopping cart staples like pizza, tortillas, and chicken tenders, and making them not only tastier but also healthier—and gluten-free. That’s what Caulipower has done, and with an expanding product lineup, they have plenty of challenges ahead.
That’s why they rely on data to help them understand their next business move. Stuart Smith, the Chief Marketing and Growth Officer at Caulipower, recently spoke with SPINS about how he and the Caulipower team stay true to the company’s mission while still adapting, learning, and giving back.
The Challenge: Adapting to Industry and Consumer Evolutions (and COVID)
“Every time our ecosystem takes a shift to the left or jump to the right, with all the changes, we have to adapt,” says Smith. He believes that good data and insights are key to adapting to the new world COVID has created. The Demand Generation team looks at the data Caulipower gets from its data partners, including SPINS.
“It’s stitching together those insights and applying a little bit of judgment that gives us the ability to turn all the data into actions that we can take on a day-to-day basis.”
In 2020, COVID added another obstacle for the Caulipower team, who needed to ensure their own safety but also continue to provide food for customers. Doing this successfully meant they first had to understand their new reality and answer an important question: “Everything’s changed. How do we need to change?” They put their customers’ needs first—focusing on what they were feeling and needing in a difficult situation.
The Solution: Using Data to Adapt and Differentiate
Data had already shown Smith and team that online sales were on the rise—even before COVID arrived. The team had begun to rethink how they were going to improve their online sales capabilities via retailers, and the pandemic accelerated that plan. As ecommerce grew, Caulipower’s team revised their approach to online marketing through their retailers, who were also placing a greater emphasis on their own online offerings. COVID made online ordering the norm for grocery shopping, and it’s likely to stay that way.
Smith believes that the brands that will succeed are the ones that differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.
“Consumers habits are going to change forever,” Smith says. “People have been doing online grocery shopping now for over 60 days. That means there are a lot of people who are not going to go back to the normal.”
The Results: A Flexible Plan That Works Today and Tomorrow
When COVID began, pantry loading drove customers to stock up across categories, but shoppers were clearly focusing on healthy foods. In light of the new reality taking place, retailers halted promotions and supply chain issues led to limited shipments. The team reassessed their approach. People wanted healthy (and tasty) foods and Caulipower was ready to deliver it.
“No successful business is built on not taking risks,” Smith says. “Don’t become risk averse.”
That risk, however, needs to be educated, and that’s why Smith and his team prioritize consumers’ needs when assessing product offerings and strategy. If consumer isn’t at the heart of a new product idea, it’s probably not worth pursuing.
That mentality extended to their philanthropic efforts.
Caulipower’s team—from the top down—takes purpose very seriously. Being aware of the economic struggles created due to COVID, Caulipower took quick actions into helping where they can. The brand had begun a new initiative with the American Heart Association, with plans to donate funds to schools in the coming years to help build teaching gardens. Caulipower pivoted in their strategy because they knew feeding people was more important than teaching right now. Now, they’re spending the first year of the program delivering 100,000 meals to at-risk families across 4 cities. It’s just another example of adapting to the times.
With so many offerings, Caulipower continues to stay innovative and strategic in encouraging consumers to learn how a healthy lifestyle can taste just as enjoyable—and data is at the heart of their approach. COVID has already changed the world for shoppers, retailers, and brands, and Caulipower is prepared to succeed no matter what comes next.